• profile of a parasite killer: cocos nucifera

    April 25th, 2014



    coco-shell Can you guess who our special guest is today, friends? That’s right, it’s Coconut — more formally known as Cocos Nucifera. Ms Nucifera is with us to preach a parasite-free existence. Don’t let that hard exterior fool you. At first she’s a tough nut to crack, yet once you get to know her, she’s really sweet on the inside, with plenty to offer in terms of health, beauty and overall wellbeing. However, what I like about her best is that she really helps do a number on pesky parasites.


    1S0A5216 So what’s her secret in the battle on vile parasitic entities? Does she fling herself with stealth from the security of her palm fronds onto unsuspecting parasites and dash them into oblivion like a kamikaze of the fruit and nut world? Not exactly … she does, however, sacrifice her water and flesh for an array of delicious food and drinks that deal a one-two punch to many parasites, viruses, fungi and bacteria. In fact her water is so pure, nutrient-rich and so readily absorbed into the bloodstream that it has even successfully served for plasma infusions! The coconut has received some bad press in the past due to having the highest saturated fat content of any food anywhere. Yet deeper research has also revealed that not all saturated fats are created equal. Coconut is also the best source of medium chain triglycerides, about 50% of which are composed of lauric acid, which is one of the body’s most important fatty acids, used to build up a strong immune system. So let’s hear it for this parasite-busting beauty.

    1S0A5181 For some entertaining yet practical coconut opening instructions/destructions, go here … For some more info on coconut fat’s health merits, go here … 

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  • ananas comosus

    April 23rd, 2014

    pineapple closeup



    Recently, I thought my death was imminent. Not at some hazy, grainy point in the future, but soon, perhaps lingering around the corner like a mugger. What had started as a feeling of persistent indigestion a couple weeks before we left Istanbul on a family vacation began to get steadily worse on a flight over the Indian Ocean. I didn’t sleep for more than 48 hours. After visiting a clinic, and being prescribed antibiotics, I became dehydrated. Though the doctor who treated me was an excellent guy, he didn’t want to guess as to what was causing my discomfort. There was the distinct possibility of an ulcer (as I’ve had one before) but like any responsible medical person he didn’t care to speculate as to why my symptoms weren’t improving, simply urged me to get more tests upon my return to Istanbul.

    So like any good sleep-deprived hypochondriac I punched all my symptoms into a website. I wanted answers. With every new symptom entered into the medical website’s database the probability meter edged closer and closer to that sneaking suspicion that I didn’t want to share with anyone — cancer. Back in Istanbul, barely off the flight, I went to the American Hospital in Nisantasi. I was given several purgatives and then knocked out so that medical technicians and the gastro-enterogolist who attended me could stick cameras in places I don’t want anybody to stick anything.

    Anyway, barring any unpleasant accidents or mishaps, I might have another half century to go before I shuffle off this mortal coil. The bad news is that the cause of my discomfort is still unclear. Although I have finished several courses of antibiotics and medicines I still don’t feel entirely right. I have a sneaking suspicion, based on what the first doctor I saw told me, and doing some more internet-based on some possible cause of of my lingering discomforts, I might well have acquired a parasite. From what I understand this is not uncommon, and may in fact plague many millions of people in the developed world. Seems I might be a better host than I thought.


    S0 today, I am here to celebrate the existence of pineapples. Apparently, pineapples are an excellent source of bromelain. So what’s bromelain? you might ask. In short, a digestive enzyme packing a whole range of health benefits, but the foremost of which I’m interested in sharing with you today is that this particular enzyme attacks and clears certain parasites of the intestine. So guess who has started stocking up on pineapples? It also happens to be excellent for sinusitis, gout, arthritis and a load of other things you’d be better off not experiencing.

    The interesting thing is that before I had any possible notion of my internal ails, I had, but mostly ignored, cravings for both pineapple and coconut. One more reason to give ear to your hunger pangs, no? So thank you mother nature (and modern day transportation) for providing me with both pineapples and coconuts. I love the idea of food as medicine and hope you will continue to stay tuned over the coming weeks as I sing the praises of other parasite-fighting foods.


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  • a few good apples

    March 18th, 2014


    Today I’d like to show you a few good apples. They’re a little bit nicked and pocked in spots, but overall, pretty beautiful with an honest bite, surface to core. Perhaps that’s because they’re not modified or engineered to grow excessively large, or coated with wax to shine under fluorescent lamps. Cut one open and you can see the apple goodness. They’re from a farm that doesn’t manufacture apples — they’re from a farm that grows them.

    Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to identify good apples, to tell those that are grown from those that are manufactured. I only wish I could say the same about elected leaders. Good luck at the polls, everyone. I’ve been thinking long and hard on your dilemma.


    Posted in Food & Drink, Places | | 1 Comment
  • lately at cochine

    February 24th, 2014

    prawns and table

    Well what do we have here? Thanks to Chef Maxwell and Co, some rather tasty new Vietnamese-inspired morsels debuted recently at Cochine (one of my favourite Istanbul haunts) so I was asked to come by and document the colourful array for marketing and social media purposes. Don’t know about you, but I’m suddenly rather hungry and looking forward to my next meal. Look at that mouthwatering Pak Choy below! Kind of makes me want to shout out loud. Yeah, baby.




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  • turpentine latté: menengiç kahvesi

    February 13th, 2014




    Last weekend in Urfa, at the Gümrük Han, I experienced a new type of hot drink that is far tastier — and probably far healthier — than many a high street chain store latté, known as menengiç kahvesi. Made from the dried and roasted wild fruit of Pistacia Terebinthus or the Turpentine Tree, I’d like to dub it the Turpentine Latté in English! Sounds appetizing, no? Okay, maybe not. In any case, the first sip was something quite unexpected and quite delicious, and I felt compelled to sample a second, which was not as enjoyable because it was overly sweet. However, since trying it at home, unsweetened, as I normally take my black coffee, I’ve discovered this is a welcome alternative to an evening coffee, when you have no desire to go to bed with caffeine-induced heart palpitations, or stay up all night pondering the meaning of the universe. Despite my desire to homemake it from the peppercorn-like dried fruit, I ended up buying a jar of the Sekeroglu brand syrup (100% menengiç — no additives or preservatives) which you simply need to mix with milk and heat. The man in the Urfa spice shop assured us we couldn’t home roast or grind the dried fruit. He said, however, that the dried fruit was very healthy to eat. It seems from a preliminary look that it does in fact bestow all sorts of anti-inflammatory benefits and is being researched for possible anti-cancer effects. So if you’re in this part of the world, be sure to try a Turpentine Latté or two. Afiyet olsun.

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  • gnarly nutrition

    February 6th, 2014

    artichoke chin


    Artichoke diptych

    upside down art

    artichoke bunch

    If Dirty Harry Callahan were turned into flower, he’d be an artichoke. No doubt. Tough and weathered on the outside but on the whole a force for good. He’d be a thistle in the side — I know, the expression is ‘thorn’ but artichokes are a type of thistle not rose — of any bad-ass interlopers who thought they could muscle in on his vegetable patch. Feeling lucky, punk? Eat an artichoke.

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  • edible sunshine?

    January 30th, 2014




    Ever get the feeling that nature speaks in codes? This won’t come as a surprise to those who know me, but … I do. Especially when it comes to foods. That’s why I think our dietary needs are colour coded to tell us in which season they’d be most useful. Take yellow for instance. During flu season, I think of nature’s golden gifts. Whether it’s a lush, saturated orange-yellow as in Turmeric (both the dry, powdered form or fresh root) lemon, honey, ginger, all of which have powerful healing and health-preserving properties. It’s almost as if these naturally occurring colours provide the kind of stored-up sunshine we miss during the wan winter months when the light turns pale and washed out. Notice how the turmeric roots stain the wood? Call me crazy but the alchemist in me thinks of that as edible sunshine, my friends. Eat it up.

    turmeric diptych


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  • the ultimate grain

    January 12th, 2014



    Oat diptych



    Perhaps I’m biased, being descended from Scottish stock, but I think the humble wee oat is a champion among grains. I wonder if Robbie Burns ever made an ode to an oat? He certainly did an Address To A Haggis, and would haggis be the same beast without oatsOats seem to have a special affinity for fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves and thus make nice chewy cookies, or if you’re feeling like ramping up the fruit factor further, contribute magnificently to a spot of crumble. Perhaps even more intriguingly (for some of us, at least) they also wash down nicely when brewed into a fantastic kind of stout that finishes with an even more chocolatey silk finish than that possessed by a Guinness. God, I’d really love a pint now. I hope Brewmaster Hall at the Bosphorus Brewing Company is reading this. If you prefer to keep your oat drinks in the all ages category, however, you might try the Latin American delight, Avena.

    Oatmeal isn’t processed to the same extent that many other everyday grains are, and so seems to retain a whole whack more nutrition, fibre and antioxidant power than its rivals. If a sheaf of oat challenged a sheaf of wheat to an arm wrestle, there’d be no contest. Its health benefits are legion. Spiced with some cinnamon and ginger, it also warms you up in a way that two slices of toast just don’t seem to when the thermometer drops at this time of year.

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  • new year, new breakfast

    January 3rd, 2014


    The morning paper said that coffee helped ward off the most common form of liver cancer, and so he poured himself a fresh cup, confident in this latest research. One item on the breakfast menu, at least, was safe. No milk, no sugar, though. No, thank you. They said dairy was bad. They said sugar was more addictive to the system than heroin. It was a new year. He was going to eat only healthy choices from now on. Excise the bread from his meals. He ate three crunchy cucumbers. A mouthful of freshly washed, organic (he hoped) spinach. He could almost imagine all the toxins being chased from within. He felt relieved. He felt enlivened. He felt a little hungry still. Stone oven baked simit didn’t really count as bread, did it? And if it did, well he’d make sure none appeared on the table tomorrow. It had sesame seeds, and those were healthy, right? Perhaps a little pat of butter too, he thought. It was winter after all, and needed the extra vitamin D … or was it E? Good for the bones, or skin, or something.



    Then he saw the honey. Nature’s purest and oldest form of sweetener. The original gold. Yep, surely a good choice. Besides bee colonies had been suffering, lately. Productivity was down. Anything he could do to help those bees recognize their importance in the food chain was a good idea. Absolutely. But you don’t want to overdo the sweet, now do you? Or mix carbs with protein. Or was that fruit with protein? Find out later … how could you go wrong with some vitamin and protein rich eggs?


    After, he leaned back in his chair and sighed, while his stomach gurgled its contentment. “Ah, 2014,” he said, “It’s going to be a good year, isn’t it?” He was resolute.

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  • winter feast

    December 28th, 2013



    cheese board

    Sometimes I find it hard to think of a more satisfying adventure than the sharing of food. The sight of the table ready, the expectation of guests, the stories that will be shared, the glances hovering over the cheese and charcuterie, the beginning, the rich wine and garlic aroma wafting from the oven, the clink of the glasses, and the slow, steady devastation of the table that follows are all as important as the food itself. May the New Year bring us many such a feast.

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